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Home > Books & Journals > Journal Abstracts Last Updated: 14:23 03/09/2007
Journal Abstracts #104: July 10, 2003

The Journal of Japanese Studies

Journal Name: The Journal of Japanese Studies: Winter 2001, Vol. 27, No. 1


Building National Identity through Ethnicity: Ethnology in Wartime Japan and After
This article exposes the role played by professional ethnologists associated with the Ethnic Research Institute in justifying Japanese intervention in Asia during World War II. Major ethnologists worked closely with key government and military officials to guide imperial Japan's efforts at nation building throughout Asia. By "liberating" people throughout Asia to their ethnic identities instead of citizenship in their own political states, Japanese ethnologists provided active support for Japan's military and imperialist activities. After defeat and the loss of Japan's empire, this ethnological tradition was refitted for domestic consumption and provided a cultural theory for Japanese identity that continued the wartime discourse on nationality as an ethnic form of identity distinct from citizenship in a democratic state.

International Law, the WTO, and the Japanese State: Assessment and Implications of the New Legalized Trade Politics
The legal rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO) have important implications for the way states relate to their own societies and also to each other. In Japan, the state has increasingly invoked WTO rules to affect outcomes in trade politics. Domestically, the state uses WTO rules to counteract protectionist interests in politically powerful sectors. Internationally, it uses them to contest the acts of its trade partners to an unprecedented extent. These rule-based, legalistic actions create winners and losers at both the domestic and international levels, with clear consequences for the relative power of key actors and institutions. This is the essence of the new legalized trade politics in Japan and will greatly affect how the Japanese state relates to political pressures both at home and abroad in the coming years.

Layers of Words and Volcanic Ash in Japan and Korea
Proto-Japanese was not spoken in Japan during the Jōmon period, yet archaeologists doubt that Japanese was introduced by conquest just prior to the first large tumuli. But if proto-Korean-Japanese accompanied the introduction of Yayoi techniques, the rise of Kofun culture may nevertheless have witnessed significant linguistic changes. A number of uncommon or semantically narrow Japanese words have Korean cognates, yet more common or broader near-synonyms do not. A Koguryŏ, Paekche, or Tungusic cognate is often found instead. Such word-pairs suggest an adstratum of borrowings. Early Yamato seems to have been more willing than Silla to adopt words from its neighbors.

Deviance and Social Darwinism in Edogawa Ranpo’s Erotic-Grotesque Thriller Koto no oni
The cultural phenomenon known as erotic-grotesque-nonsense (ero-guro-nansensu) flourished in Japan during the late 1920s and early 1930s. Dominating this milieu was the popular author Edogawa Ranpo (1894-1965). One of his most successful, and sensational, novels was Koto no oni (Demon of the lonely isle, 1929-30), which offered readers the kind of freakish characters and shocking incidents they had come to expect from a master of erotic-grotesque cultural production. In addition to its undeniable appeal as a skillfully executed piece of commercial fiction, the text is also noteworthy for its complicated engagement with contemporaneous systems of literary, political, social, and scientific signification. In a manner comparable to its cast of characters, a menagerie of "freaks" who challenge standard notions of what constitutes "normal" humanity, Koto no oni itself destabilizes conventional literary and ideological interpretive positions.

Volume 27, Number 1 (Winter 2001)
©2001 Society for Japanese Studies

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